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Navy contractor who sold $19,000 binoculars for $100 will serve 15 months in prison

Afghan Tactical Air Coordinators use specialized binoculars to gather essential information before calling in strikes during a training opportunity near Kandahar, Afghanistan, March 14, 2017. According to a report on Thursday, Oct. 12, a former Navy contractor who stole then sold a pair of $19,000 military binoculars for $100 will serve 15 months in prison.

JORDAN CASTELAN/U.S. AIR FORCE

By SCOTT DAUGHERTY | The Virginian-Pilot (Tribune News Service) | Published: October 12, 2017

NORFOLK, Va. — A Hampton man walked into a pawn shop two years ago with high-tech military-grade binoculars that had been stolen from a guided missile destroyer.

They were worth about $19,000, court documents said. He sold them for $100.

Alexander Vann King, 32, was sentenced Thursday to 15 months in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Layne asked for a sentence of 18 months, while Public Defender Wilfredo Bonilla Jr. requested 11 months’ time served.

The former Navy contractor pleaded guilty in April to one count of receiving stolen property.

Vann King worked Oct. 21, 2015, on the USS Mitscher, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, according to court documents.

On or about that day, he took possession of a laser “range finder,” identified as an AN/PES-2 Vector 21B. The binoculars were last seen in the ship’s armory during an inventory check Sept. 14 and 15.

Investigators located the binoculars at Superior Pawn and Gun in Hampton, along with paperwork linking the sale to Vann King.

In an interview with investigators, Vann King confessed to selling them. He said he thought they were just regular binoculars.

Court documents do not indicate who stole them, or whether investigators know. No charges have been filed regarding the actual theft.

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